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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



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Robert Ogden

OGDEN, Robert, patriot, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 16 October, 1716; died in Sparta, New Jersey, 1 January, 1787. He was a member of the king's council for New Jersey, and in 1751 became a member of the legislature, to which he was rechosen on each succceeding election, becoming in 1763 speaker of the house. In 1765 he was sent as a delegate to the Continental congress that convened in New York on 25 October of that year, when a " Declaration of Rights and Grievances" was drawn up, with an address to the king and a petition to each house of parliament. These proceedings were approved and signed by all of the members except Timothy Ruggles and Mr. Ogden, who maintained that the proceedings were to be submitted to the several provincial assemblies, and. if sanctioned, to be forwarded by them as their own acts. The conduct of Mr. Ogden gave offence to the people of New Jersey, he was burned in effigy, and in consequence of this he resigned his membership in the assembly. In 1776 he was chairman of the Elizabethtown committee of safety.--Robert's son, Matthias, soldier, born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 22 October, 1754; died there, 31 March, 1791, joined the army under Washington at Cambridge, and accompanied Benedict Arnold in his march through the Kennebunk woods in the winter of 1775, participating in the attack on Quebec, where he was wounded. He was made lieutenant-colonel of the 1st battalion of the first establishment on 7 March, 1776, and subsequently colonel of the 1st regiment of the New Jersey continental line, which he commanded until the close of the war. Colonel Ogden was taken prisoner at Elizabethtown in November, 1780, and originated and commanded the unsuccessful attempt to capture Prince William Henry -(subsequently William IV.), in March, 1782. He was granted leave of absence by congress to visit Europe in 1783, and while in France received the honor of "le droit du tabouret " from Louis XVI. At the close of the war he received the brevet of brigadier-general, to date from 20 September, 1783. He was a member of the legislative council in 1785, and in 1789 a presidential elector.--Matthias's son, Francis Barber, inventor, born in Boonton, New Jersey, 3 March. 1783; died in Bristol, England, 4 July, 1857, served under General Andrew Jackson as aide-de-camp at the battle of New Orleans, on 8 January, 1815. Mr. Ogden devoted attention to mechanical science, and is credited with having first applied the important principles of the expansive power of steam and the employment of right angular cranks in marine engines. In 1813 he receded a patent for low-pressure condensing engines with two cylinders, the steam working expansively and the cranks being adjusted at right angles, and in 1817 the first engine ever constructed on this principle was built by him in Leeds, Yorkshire. He submitted his plan at Soho to James Watt, who declared at once that it would make "a beautiful engine" and that the combination was certainly original. The first screw propeller that was introduced into practical use and carried into successful operation was brought out by John Ericsson on Thames river in May, 1837, and was called the "Francis B. Ogden." The first propeller in the waters of the United States was the "Robert F. Stockton," an iron boat, which was built at Liverpool under the superintendence of Mr. Ogden. He was United States consul at Liverpool in 1829-'40, and at Bristol in 1840-'57.--Matthias's brother, Aaron, soldier, born in Elizabethtown. New Jersey, 3 December, 1756; died in Jersey City, 19 April, 1839, was graduated at Princeton in 1773, and then taught, also taking an active part in the early struggles of the patriots. In the winter of 1775-'6 he was one of the party that boarded and cap-lured off Sandy Hook the "Blue Mountain Valley," a British vessel laden with munitions of war and bound for Boston, and successfully carried her into Elizabethport. He was made paymaster of the 1st battalion on 8 December, 1775, held a similar office in the second establishment, and was then captain of the 1st New Jersey regiment commanded by his brother, Matthias Ogden. Captain Ogden was present at the battle of the Brandywine, and was brigade-major in part of the advanced corps of General Charles Lee at Monmouth, serving also as an assistant aide-de-camp to Lord Sterling on that field. In 1779 he accompanied General William Maxwell as aide in the expedition of General John Sullivan against the Indians, and took part in 1780 in the battle of Springfield, New Jersey, where his horse was shot under him. On the resignation of General Maxwell, Ogden was appointed to a captaincy of light infantry under Lafayette, and was serving in that capacity when he was called on to perform a delicate service. Washington placed in his hands a packet of papers directed to Sir Henry Clinton, containing an official account of the trial of Andre, the decision of the board of inquiry, and the letter written by Andre to his general, and ordered him to go to Lafayette for further instructions, after he should arrange his escort of men that were known for their tried fidelity. Lafayette, who was stationed nearest to the British lilies, instructed Ogden to travel so slowly that when he should reach Paulus Hook (now Jersey City) it might be so late that he would be asked to stay all night. He was then to communicate to the commandant of the post, as if incidentally, the idea of an exchange of Andre for Benedict Arnold. As was anticipated, Ogden was invited to spend the night, and in the course of the evening Andre became the subject of conversation. In reply to the question, "Is there no way to spare Andre's life?" Ogden assured the commandant that if Sir Henry Clinton would give up Arnold, Andre might be saved. This statement was promptly communicated to Sir Henry, but honor would not allow the surrender. Ogden afterward accompanied Lafayette in his campaign in Virginia during 1781, and at the siege of Yorktown, with his company, gallantly stormed the left redoubt of the enemy, for which he was "honored with the peculiar approbation of Washington." After the war he studied law, followed that profession with success, and was chosen a presidential elector in 1796. He was appointed lieutenant-colonel commandant of the 11th United States infantry on 8 January, 1799, and was made, on 26 February, 180o, deputy quartermaster-general of the United States army, which place he held until the provisional army was disbanded on 15 June, 1800. Colonel Ogden was made United States senator on 28 February, 1801, to succeed James Schureman, who had resigned, and he held that office for two years. He was chosen by the legislature, on 29 October, 1812. to succeed Joseph Bloomfield as governor of New Jersey. During the war of 1812 he was commander-in-chief of the New Jersey militia, and was appointed major-general of the United States army, but declined that honor, preferring the state command. In 1806 he was appointed by the legislature of New Jersey one of the commissioners to meet like officials on the part of New York to settle questions of boundaries and jurisdiction between the states. Colonel Ogden was a trustee of Princeton in 1803-'12 and in 1817-'39, and that college conferred on him in 1816 the degree of LL. D. He was president of the State society of the Cincinnati from 1824, and president-general of the organization from 1829 till his death. --Aaron's son, Elias Bailey Dayton, jurist, born in Elizabethtown, 22 May, 1799; died there, 24 February, 1865, was graduated at Princeton in 1819, and then studied law. He was made prosecutor of the [)leas for Essex county in 1828, and for Passaic county in 1838, becoming in 1848 associate justice of the supreme court of New Jersey. In 1844 he was a member of the State constitutional convention, and he was admitted to the Society of the Cincinnati on 4 July, 1861.

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